Friday, April 18, 2014

Josh Miller: Shaken baby syndrome: Matt Stroud reports in "The Verge" that parents are going to prison for a medical diagnosis that may not exist - and that in 3,000 cases, the shaken baby syndrome debate goes on. (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "Parents are going to prison for a medical diagnosis that may not exist: In 3,000 cases, the shaken baby syndrome debate goes on," by reporter Matt Stroud, published by "The Verge" on April 15, 2014.

GIST: "There’s no indication that Guthkelch — or doctors more broadly — intended SBS to inspire prosecutorial charges en masse against parents and caregivers who’d allegedly shaken their children into unconsciousness. But that’s what prosecutors have done. Enlisting doctors as expert witnesses, SBS criminal cases are not uncommon. Students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University found last year that there’ve been as many as 3,000 criminal cases in the United States related to shaken baby syndrome. That’s arguably a good thing — people should indeed face the criminal justice system for shaking children. But much has evolved in the medical community since 1971 to question SBS as indicative of a crime. Which means many of those cases and criminal convictions are questionable.........A major magazine piece about a Seattle-area SBS case was published this month, along with a followup to an ongoing newspaper investigation about a separate case in Rochester, NY. There's been a lot of major media attention, in fact, brought to the debate over SBS. Not the least of that attention comes from a New York Times Magazine feature and a Frontline investigation that lead to the release of a man convicted on dubious SBS charges. But that attention has by no means inspired consensus about SBS. Questions about SBS’s validity have deeply divided segments of the medical community. That uncertainty is then dissected in criminal trials and translated to juries, who are then asked to make a decision about whether to throw someone into prison. Josh Miller’s case was a particularly confusing example of that scenario.........Surprisingly, Dr. Norman Guthkelch, the man credited with discovering SBS in the first place, has done quite a bit to analyze potentially faulty shaking cases. And in his interview with NPR, he said there’s plenty of reason to do so. "In a case of measles, if you get the diagnosis wrong, in seven days' time it really doesn't matter because it's cleared up anyhow," he said. "If you get the diagnosis of fatal shaken baby syndrome wrong, potentially someone's life will be terminated.""

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/15/5604886/shaken-baby-syndrome-criminal-cases-controversy

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bulletin: Rene Bailey; Hearing challenging the science of the so-called shaken baby syndrome opens in New York State with attorneys offering differing opinions of the scientific consensus. Reporter Gary Craig; Democrat and Chronicle;


STORY: "Hearing scrutinizes shaken baby science," by reporter  Gary Craig, published by the Democrat and Chronicle on April 17, 2014.

SUB-HEADING:  "Rene Bailey was in court April17, 2014, for a hearing on possible new evidence in her shaken baby conviction from the 2001 incident."

GIST:  A hearing challenging the science of so-called shaken baby syndrome opened Thursday with attorneys offering differing opinions of the scientific consensus. At issue is whether a Greece woman, RenĂ© Bailey, was wrongly convicted in 2002 for the death of 2½-year-old Brittney Alexis Sheets, who died while in Bailey's care. The hearing before County Court Judge James Piampiano could last more than a week. A jury decided that the injuries Brittney suffered could only be caused by violent shaking. At the time, police, prosecutors and many in the medical community maintained that injuries of the type suffered by the child could only be caused by vigorous shaking. In recent years, those beliefs have come under constant challenge, and some experts now contend that a fall could well be the cause of the injuries. Bailey maintained at trial that she tried to revive Brittney after a fall. To overturn Bailey's conviction, Piampiano would have to decide that there is new evidence, unavailable at the time of Bailey's trial, that likely could have led the jury to a decision of acquittal.  Adele Bernhard, a New York Law School law professor who represents Bernhard, said in an opening statement that "this conviction was based on uncorroborated medical evidence." In 2002, she said, there was not a consensus that a fall could cause the brain injuries seen in Brittney. Bailey claimed that Brittney had fallen off a chair. "The jury was told this couldn't happen," Bernhard said. Now, she said, many medical experts recognize that the traumatic signs once believed to be solely caused by shaken-baby syndrome can arise from a fall. Assistant District Attorney Andra Ackerman countered that the jury did hear of a possible fall from only 18 inches, considered the medical evidence, and decided that the death was caused by Bailey. "I'm confident that the court will find that there's no new evidence," she said. Testimony opened with Dr. Peter Stephens, a forensics pathologist who testified that he has examined the medical and autopsy records of Brittney's death and believes a fall was the likely cause. "There is now general agreement that short distance falls can kill — maybe not commonly, but they can," he said. Stephens was scheduled to return to the stand for cross-examination after a lunch break..........The growing debate around shaken-baby syndrome was detailed in Democrat and Chronicle watchdog reports in November and January. The hearing will include testimony from more than a dozen expert witnesses on both sides of the scientific divide, and may well be the most detailed challenge to shaken-baby syndrome yet heard in a New York Court. A ruling is not expected for two months or more after the hearing."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/04/17/rene-bailey-shaken-baby-science/7817079/

Up-dated story: "The hearing, which opened Thursday before County Court Judge James Piampiano, could last more than a week. While there have been numerous challenges to the science of shaken-baby syndrome in New York Courts, this will likely be the most expansive post-conviction hearing, and could become a legal benchmark for future cases."

 http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/04/17/rene-bailey-shaken-baby-science/7817079/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;



Sent from my iPad

Louis Lamonica Jr.; "True Detective" and "Satanic panic" and some doubts about the case of a Louisiana pastor; (A "Must Read" by Maurice Chammah published by the Huffington Post. HL);


STORY: "True Detective and the satanic panic," by Maurice Chammah, published by the Huffington Post on April 11, 2014.  (Maurice Chammah is a freelance writer and musician in Austin, Texas, where he writes for The Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, and other publications.)

GIST: "I took my time finishing the final episodes of True Detective. The twists and turns demand contemplative viewing, at least until the end. The detectives have spent eight episodes piecing together the identity of a serial killer whose devil-worshipping, ritualistic activities seemed to implicate major Louisiana politicians and a wide network of people and institutions. But it comes down, as these things always do, to a thrilling fight scene. Detective Rust Cohle has spent eight hours of television using his head to follow the murderer's trail and wax philosophical. In the end, he uses his head more literally, thrusting it repeatedly to knock the bad guy off his feet. In a recent interview, the show's creator Nic Pizzolatto hinted that the story might have a real-life inspiration. Numerous articles followed, quoting reports from 2005 on the case of a Louisiana pastor named Louis Lamonica Jr. who was convicted of raping his two sons and accused of weird and wild Satanic activities. Lamonica is still in prison. Maybe he's guilty, but his case has a lot of red flags........."When dealing with home-run records and financial opportunities, a reliable rule to follow is this: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Michael Hall wrote for Texas Monthly when the San Antonio Four were released. "When dealing with child-sex-abuse allegations, a reliable rule to follow is this: if it sounds too bad to be true, be very, very skeptical.".........In all of these cases, no physical evidence was ever found. Many of the kid victims grew up to retract their accusations. Skeptical journalists like Debbie Nathan, co-author of the book Satan's Silence, found that bad interviewing techniques had been used on highly suggestible children. Most of the men and women accused of those crimes have been freed. The New York Times recently ran a short film that makes this "hysteria" look like a shameful relic on the order of the Salem witch trials. A shameful relic, that is, of the 1980s and the 1990s. Lamonica's conviction was in 2005. Satanic ritual abuse cases were mostly discredited by the time Lamonica's conviction came along. At the very least, his case deserves an ample amount of skepticism.........We may have for the most part moved past the Satanic abuse panic, but the popularity of True Detective suggests why we may have been so primed for the Satanic abuse hysteria in the first place. We all love a good story."

The entire post can be found at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maurice-chammah/true-detective-and-the-sa_b_5134345.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oscar Pistorius: The defence shifts from Pistorius' testimony to forensic experts called on his behalf; A BBC reporter raises the relationship between forensics and credibility; and finally (Hallelujah) a contrary view from the media; "Talk Left," raises the possibilty that prosecutors have not yet established his guilt beyond a resonable doubt.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This analysis by BBC News reporter Pumza Fihlani contains a fascinating quote by BBC Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding which raises the relationship between forensics and credibility: "However well his forensic experts proceed to shore up his testimony in the coming days, Mr Pistorius' credibility has been damaged.”

ANALYSIS: "Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp shot in 'rapid fire', by Pumza Fihlani News, published by BBC News on  April 16, 2014.

GIST: "The girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius was shot in quick succession as she fell down, a forensics expert has told the South African athlete's murder trial. This differs from a police ballistics witness who said there was short break between the first and second shots.  Mr Pistorius denies intentionally killing Ms Steenkamp in early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He says he fired rapidly in fear through the toilet door after he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder......... The trial has been adjourned until Thursday, which will be the last day before a break; proceedings will resume on Monday 5 May."

The  entire "analysis"  can be found at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27047001?ocid=global_bbccom_email_16042014_top+news+stories

See the following "Talk Left" perspective: Prosecutors have not yet proven his guild beyond a reasonable doubt; "Oscar Pistorius has completed his testimony. The prosecutor picked apart every little detail hoping to show his version of events was not possible. The state is pushing an alternate theory, however, it sounds like it's nothing more than "it might have happened this way." He didn't get Oscar to admit that any of the elements of his theory were correct. The state's theory is predicated on an argument between the couple, and given Oscar's denial and the lack of any other witnesses present, I don't see how the theory can be considered proved in any way, let alone by proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

http://www.talkleft.com/story/2014/4/15/163042/590/crimenews/Pistorius-Testimony-Over-Back-to-Expert-Witnesses

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Rockefeller forensic science bill: The Innocence Project reports that this bill, meant to ensure forensic practices are based on the best science, has been cleared for consideration by the full U.S. Senate.


POST:"Senate Commerce Committee approves bill ensuring forensics practices are based on best science," published by the Innocence Project on April 14, 2014.

GIST: "The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2014, establishing scientific review and standards for forensic sciences, Wednesday. The bill, which was introduced by Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, was unanimously voted out of committee by a bipartisan voice vote and clears the way for the bill to be considered by the full Senate. Unvalidated and improper forensic science is one of the greatest contributors to wrongful convictions, playing a role in nearly half of the 316 cases later overturned by DNA evidence. The landmark 2009 National Academy of Sciences’ report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, found that there is a desperate need to improve the validity and scientific quality of forensic evidence."

The entire post can be found at:

http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Senate_Commerce_Committee_Approves_Bill_Ensuring_Forensics_Practices_are_Based_on_Best_Science.php

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bulletin: Michitoshi Kuma; District Court refuses to grant a posthumous trial to a man hanger over 1992 slayings; Court dismisses lawyer's claims that false DNA tests had led to his conviction; Japan Times;




The Fukuoka District Court decided Monday not to reopen a 1992 murder case in which a man was executed six years ago for killing two young girls, dismissing new evidence brought forward by his lawyers. The decision not to grant a posthumous retrial to Michitoshi Kuma, who consistently maintained his innocence, came just days after another court decided to reopen a 1966 quadruple murder case and free 78-year-old Iwao Hakamada from death row after nearly 48 years in detention. Kuma’s lawyers plan to appeal the decision......... Kuma was hanged in 2008 at age 70 for the kidnapping and murder of two 7-year-old girls in Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture. Kuma’s widow petitioned the court in 2009 for a retrial, arguing that false DNA test results had led to his conviction. His lawyers argued that the quality of the DNA tests was poor and thus not credible, and submitted an analysis by a forensics expert showing that Kuma’s DNA was not the same as the DNA type admitted by the court as the culprit’s.........The lawyers also submitted as new evidence an analysis saying that Kuma had blood type of B, while the killer’s blood type was AB, as well as an expert psychological opinion that said witness testimony linking the slayings to Kuma may have been influenced by investigators."

The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/03/31/national/fukuoka-court-wont-reopen-1992-murder-case-of-hanged-inmate/#.UzlSNCe9KK0

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bulletin: The Hillsborough Disaster; ESPN broadcasts TV documentary which cannot be aired in the U.K., because of the on-going inquest and strict contempt of court laws. The film says police tried to cover up their crowd-control errors by convincing people that alcohol was top blame - and how the first coroner went as far as taking the blood alcohol of every victim (even children), and those over the legal driving limit then had criminal background checks done. Airing (Tuesday April 15, 2014) at 8 p.m. ET.

STORY:  "ESPN's  '30 for 30: Soccer stories' tells the horror of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster," by reporter Debbie Emery, published by The Hollywood Reporter on April 10, 2014.

SUB-HEADING:  "The feature-length doc, which cannot currently be aired  in the U.K., reveals devastating details of the incident on April 15, 1989, that resulted in 96 fans being crushed to death during a match."

GIST:  "Rather than just celebrating the love of the game, the first episode, titled Hillsborough (airing on April 15), takes on one of the darkest days in European football in a documentary that can't be aired in the U.K. due to a new inquest launched 25 years after the incident and strict contempt of court laws.........British director Daniel Gordon grew up going to the matches in the ill-fated stadium with his dad and was even meant to be there that fateful day, so he was a natural choice for ESPN and vp of ESPN Films and Original Content Connor Schell to make the documentary..........Another key aspect of the story that he felt compelled to include is the "mutual distrust between police and football fans" during an era that was notorious for hooliganism. "The police did a really good job of convincing people that alcohol was to blame," says Gordon. The film tells how the first coroner went as far as taking the blood alcohol of every victim (even children), and those over the legal driving limit then had criminal background checks done. "It was always a red herring, to blame the fans and shift the responsibility," he says.........The initial inquest returned a verdict of "accidental death" in March 1991, which many families refused to accept, "Some have never collected the death certificate because they don't believe it was accidental," Gordon tells THR. ........Through the uncovering of previously hidden documents and statements that were allegedly doctored and altered, the Hillsborough Independent Panel (which included Professor Phil Scraton, who is featured in the film) concluded in 2012 that fans were not responsible for the disaster. That has led to the new inquest that is expected to take a year, following which there might be criminal prosecutions. "But that'll be over a quarter of a century after the fact," explains the director. "You have 96 families -- just to see the numbers of people filing into a courtroom and to realize they’ve been doing this for 25 years is devastating."

Hillsborough airs  Tuesday: April 15 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN to kick off the sports network's soccer series.

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/espns-30-30-soccer-stories-694728?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thr%2Fnews+%28The+Hollywood+Reporter+-+Top
+Stories%29

World Soccer Talk interview with director Daniel Gordon:

 http://worldsoccertalk.com/podcasts/2014/listen-to-an-interview-with-hillsborough-documentary-director-daniel-gordon-audio-99041/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

“Hillsborough is the most important soccer story of my generation,” said director Daniel Gordon. “What began as a day of expectancy turned into a quite unimaginable tragedy, the horror and pain of which have not diminished with time, as families and survivors have sought – and been denied – justice. As we approach the 25th anniversary of the disaster, I felt that now was the right time to look at the whole story, from the day, through the immediate aftermath and the now quarter century of the fight for justice. As a soccer fan who followed his team home and away in the era, I know that could easily have been me on that day and I hope I’ve done the story justice.”
Read more at http://worldsoccertalk.com/podcasts/2014/listen-to-an-interview-with-hillsborough-documentary-director-daniel-gordon-audio-99041/#wqWC0Vohl0WIg3Gy.9PUBLISHER'S NOTDear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case. 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;